Monday, July 30, 2012

Guest Post: Feelin' Fruity!

I don’t know about you, but I seem to learn things best when teaching them to others.  Somehow the principles and facts dig in just a little deeper when I’m trying to convince someone else of their importance!  In fact, there just might be a proverb somewhere in some culture to that affect.  Seems familiar, anyway…

Well, recently, I was asked, coerced, roped into, or otherwise forced into teaching a series of Sunday School lessons to the youngsters of our church.  (Well, that might not be EXACTLY the way it happened, but it makes for a better story that way.)  That being the case, I sorta suggested that the Fruits of the Spirit would be something interesting to study with the children, so it was all set.

I’m no expert with kids, but I do have four of my own, so I went at developing this study with their lives, needs, and struggles in mind.  But what I didn’t count on was how strongly it would affect me.  Wow.  How long has it been since you took a good hard look at that classic list of Godly character traits?  Yeah, it had probably been about that long for me, too.  It seems kinda easy for me to dismiss some of those familiar passages and think I’ve “been there and done that” already.  But I’ve had some “Aha!” moments along the way and I thought I might share some of those with you.

Galatians 5:22-23 says,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith, meekness, temperance:
against such there is no law.”

Gulp.  Uh, wow.  Okay, if we take these one at a time, they are large loaves of bread, but put them all together and we’ve got an entire bakery!!!!  How can we get a handle around what each of these character traits means…to us…today?  The word Christian means Christ-like.  Could it be that this is that “Christ-likeness” in a nutshell? 

How can we show true self-less love to someone in our circle of influence today?  Is this limited to the people we like?  Joy is that POP of cheerful “flavor” in the middle of any situation!  “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:18). So, how can we show true joy – a “Pollyanna” pop of sunshine instead of an “Eeyore” mumbly-grumbliness?   

We are clearly commanded in Scripture to be Christ’s ambassadors of peace  - and live in peaceful harmony with ALL men, “as much as lieth in you” (Romans 12:18).  Are our homes known as peaceful havens where troubled souls can be encouraged and refreshed?

And then there is longsuffering or patience… patience might mean waiting peacefully, calmly, and restfully on God’s timing, direction, and revelation of His will for our lives.  It may mean granting the grace of a sweet attitude to someone who gets in the way of us getting something “important” accomplished. Are we as patient with those around us as God is with us? Remember this? Our Guidebook for life tells us that “a SOFT answer turneth away WRATH” (Proverbs 15:1). Just as gentleness works wonders with helping abuse victims recover, it can also bring about miraculous changes in difficult relationship situations!!!

There is an amazing definition for this next fruit of the Spirit that I just HAVE to share!  It’s just bursting with implication and yet so easy to remember…"Goodness does.”  Or here’s another one…”Goodness is holiness put into practice and results from knowing God…”  Beth Moore says, “Goodness is character energized…Spend yourself!  Pour into others.”  So dare I say to you, dear readers, “Be good”?  :)

For this fruit of the Spirit, I used the word “faithfulness” or the idea of “keeping the faith.”  Just as Almighty God is faithful to fulfill each and every promise He has made, we who are striving to be “Christ-like” should be faithful in areas of responsibility with which we have been entrusted.  Can WE be counted on to “be there” for others when they need us?  Can GOD count on us to be faithful Him?

Now we come to the last two…hmmm…well, since I haven’t had taught these particular lessons yet, I guess I’ll have to get back to you with what I learn!  (Smiley)  Or better yet, what are some of YOUR thoughts on meekness and self-control

God bless you all as you face your mountains and trials, as you complete your tasks, and as you learn to love Jesus more deeply than ever before!  Go be FRUITY!!!  

Shawna Wright is a mom of four (ages 4-15) and wife of one magnificent example of all of the fruits of the Spirit.  She lives in Gardner, Kansas, where she homeschools, keeps house, and cares for her husband Michael as he faces a battle with cancer.  Once in a while she fits in working with the children at her church, entertaining friends and family, and dreaming about her hobbies!  She is a recipient of much of God’s grace, blessing, and patience and is (on most days) looking forward to what God has in mind for her family next!

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